Beyond River Yei
“You may assume that a war torn place is aware of the abnormality of its situation. That it will, for your own modesty hide the graves, the torn clothes, the guns slung over shoulders, the hostilities. It is possible that this happens in certain places. Not here. Surely, you think, your civilian Kenyan ego operating at full capacity, people will even shoo you away, with a gun even, when faced by your scar free self: fat, sleek, eyes unable to keep the pity out.
This is Sudan.”
This story is about a Kenyan writer commissioned to write about sleeping sickness in Southern Sudan. It is also a heartrending story about a returning doctor, poet and humanist who exposes the heart of the people he encounters.
Binyavanga Wainaina is a Kenyan writer. He won the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing. He is the founding editor of Kwani?,and has written for The EastAfrican, National Geographic, Tin House, Virginia Quarterly, Vanity fair, Granta, the New York Times and The Guardian (UK). Wainaina has taught at Union College and Williams College, and is currently the Director of the Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists at Bard College. His memoir, I Will One Day Write About this Place, will be released by Graywolf Press in 2011.